World Nomad Games Come to a Close in Kyrgyzstan

08 September, 2016

This is What's Trending Today...

The 2016 Rio Olympics are over and the Paralympics are just beginning.

But in between, a much different kind of international sporting event took place in Central Asia. Instead of running, swimming, and basketball, athletes took part in sports like eagle hunting, traditional stick wrestling, and yurt-building.

Competitors participate in traditional stick wrestling at the 2016 World Nomad Games (RFE/RL)
Competitors participate in traditional stick wrestling at the 2016 World Nomad Games (RFE/RL)

Thursday marked the final day of the World Nomad Games. Nomads are groups of people who move place to place instead of living in one place all the time. Competitors from more than 40 countries gathered in eastern Kyrgyzstan for the six-day event.

It included more than 20 sports and games that are traditional to nomadic cultures around the world. The unique event has trended this week on social media.

People on Twitter described the World Nomad Games as "intense" and "alive with color and history" and "crazier and cooler than the Olympics."

Kok-boru is one of the sports people are talking about a lot. Two teams compete for control of a headless goat. The goal is to carry the body to the other team's side. It is especially difficult because the players are on horseback.

The popular game is played under different names all across Central Asia.

The Kok-boru finals were held Thursday. The team from Kyrgyzstan defeated Kazakhstan by a score of 15 to 3. China finished third.

Another popular event was yurt-building. A yurt is a temporary home used by nomads in Central Asia. It is round and covered with animal skins.

In the competitive yurt event, teams were able to build the whole shelter in less than 13 minutes.

This was only the second World Nomad Games. Kyrgyzstan was home to the first Games as well, in 2014. But this year's event was much larger and received more media attention.

With the World Nomad Games now over, new fans of the event are already waiting for the next one.

One Twitter user asked, "Who wants to go to this next year?"

And that's What's Trending Today.

I'm Dorothy Gundy.

Ashley Thompson wrote this report. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Photos by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Amos Chapple


Words in This Story

fan n. a person who likes and admires someone (such as a famous person) or something (such as a sport or a sports team) in a very enthusiastic way

unique adj. used to say that something or someone is unlike anything or anyone else

crazyadj. very strange or unusual

cooladj. very fashionable, stylish, or appealing in a way that is generally approved of especially by young people

attention n. notice, interest, or awareness